President Cyril Ramaphosa: GCIS

STAFF REPORTER

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has passed the Civil Union Amendment Bill which seeks to protect the rights of same-sex marriage.

Ramaphosa officially passed the bill on Friday.

This news comes as a welcome celebration for same-sex couples who have previously experienced difficulties with officially getting married before the state.

The Civil Union Amendment Bill repeals the former Bill of Civil Union Bill Act 17 of 2006 which legalised same-sex marriage. Originally, officiating officers had the right to refuse marrying same-sex couples on the grounds of conscience, religion, and belief.

This clause reportedly prevented South African LGBT couples from getting married as many Home Affairs marriage officers would then exempt themselves from marrying LGBT couples.

This follows a 2018 Constitutional Court judgement which dealt with a  couple who were married under the Transkei Marriage Act.

According to the marriage certificate the parties were married “without an antenuptial contract”.

Therefore in terms of the Transkei Marriage Act, this marriage was out of community of property, which was the default position by law in the former Transkei before 2000.

Section 7(3) of the Divorce Act allows a court to order a just and equitable transfer of assets during divorce proceedings for marriages entered into before the commencement of certain rationalisation laws.

The Constitutional Court was then asked to decide whether section 7(3), in its failure to rationalise the position of women in the former Transkei, was constitutionally invalid.

In a unanimous ruling, the court found that the discrimination experienced by the applicant and women in the former Transkei was indefensible and that Parliament had failed comprehensively to rationalise the marriage laws.

The court made an order declaring the constitutional invalidity of section 7(3).

The Act provides for the just and equitable redistribution of property on divorce in respect of anyone married out of community of property.

(SOURCE: AGENCIES)

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